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Dynamic Bargaining with Transaction Costs


  • Peter C. Cramton

    (Yale School of Management, Box 1A, New Haven, Connecticut 06520)


A buyer and seller alternate making offers until an offer is accepted or someone terminates negotiations. The seller's valuation is common knowledge, but the buyer's valuation is known only by the buyer. Impatience to reach an agreement comes from two sources: the traders discount future payoffs and there are transaction costs of bargaining. Equilibrium behavior involves either immediate trade, delayed trade, or immediate termination, depending on the size of the gains from trade and the relative bargaining costs. This contrasts with the pure discounting model where termination never occurs, and the pure transaction cost model where delayed trade never occurs.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter C. Cramton, 1991. "Dynamic Bargaining with Transaction Costs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(10), pages 1221-1233, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:37:y:1991:i:10:p:1221-1233

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leech, Dennis, 1985. "Ownership Concentration and the Theory of the Firm : A Simple-Game-Theoretic Approach to Applied US Corporations in the 1930's," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 262, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    2. Guillermo Owen, 1972. "Multilinear Extensions of Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(5-Part-2), pages 64-79, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cramton, Peter & Kwerel, Evan & Williams, John, 1998. "Efficient Relocation of Spectrum Incumbents," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 647-675, October.
    2. Ahmet Ozkardas & Agnieszka Rusinowska, 2013. "An application of wage bargaining to price negotiation with discount factors varying in time," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00881151, HAL.
    3. Cramton, Peter C & Tracy, Joseph S, 1992. "Strikes and Holdouts in Wage Bargaining: Theory and Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 100-121, March.
    4. Peter C. Cramton, 1992. "Strategic Delay in Bargaining with Two-Sided Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 205-225.
    5. Ambrus, Attila & Chaney, Eric & Salitskiy, Igor, 2015. "Váltságdíjtárgyalások - tranzakciós költségek melletti alkudozás empirikus vizsgálata
      [Negotiating for ransom: an empirical investigation of bargaining with transaction costs]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(10), pages 997-1029.
    6. John A. List, 2004. "The Nature and Extent of Discrimination in the Marketplace: Evidence from the Field," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 49-89.
    7. Simon Board & Marek Pycia, 2014. "Outside Options and the Failure of the Coase Conjecture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(2), pages 656-671, February.

    More about this item


    bargaining; negotiation; delay; signalling games; transaction costs;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


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